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Bloomington Public Safety Task Force Makes Final Recommendations

Business owners and residents are pleased with the police action in the downtown area but critics say it fails to address real issues facing the homeless population.

Photo: Tyler Lake

Bloomington police recently increased presence in People's Park on Kirkwood.

Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton says the final recommendations of a task force will guide the city’s efforts to improve public safety.

Last August, Hamilton announced the creation of the Downtown Safety and Civility Dialogue and Deliberation Project after a spike in reports of panhandling and crime downtown. That initiative included installing six cameras and launching a public awareness campaign to encourage people to donate to social services agencies rather than give panhandlers money.

Hamilton says in a statement the task force presented preliminary recommendations in April, which included increased police presence in certain areas and a jobs program partnering with the Parks and Recreation Department.

“Downtown issues of safety, civility and justice require both good minds and good hearts to reach solutions that are practical, compassionate and effective,” Mayor Hamilton stated. “We will continue to work every day to help improve life for all the residents of our community, and these recommendations will help guide our efforts.”

In the final set of recommendations, the task force asks the city to implement a public, portable restroom similar to the “Pit Stop” pilot program established in San Francisco.

“One of the worst indignities for people living on the street is having to deal with a simple natural bodily function: going to the bathroom,” the report says. “The lack of bathroom facilities in downtown Bloomington has meant a large amount of human waste in parks, alleys and on the streets.”

The report also encourages the city to establish a “stable, long-term source of funding” for downtown safety initiatives.

Read the complete set of recommendations below.

Safety, Civility and Justice Task Force Final Report by Indiana Public Media News on Scribd

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